(Note: This is the first installment in the four part “Back on the Bike” series. The full set of articles can be found HERE.)
It has been 16 years since the training wheels came off my Cinderella princess bike. When I was younger a bike was a method to escape and venture off into the world with my friends. Like most people I know the bike stayed in the shed once the keys to the car were handed over. Well I have decided to wipe off the dust and get back in the saddle. During a series of articles I plan on providing the necessary information someone may find helpful about how to hop back on the bike and find their way around Columbus.
The first step is finding the right bike for you, as much as I love my princess bike it was time I find a big girl bike. So I ventured to the local bike shop and with the help of my brother Jeremy, a bike enthusiast and specialist for 22 years, I found the perfect bike for me. An old school red and white Raleigh I have named Penelope.
After talking with Jeremy, I found that in order to find the perfect bike for you there are several things you need to take into consideration. When you stand over the bike you want about two inches between you in the bike. If there is more the bike is too large for you, any less and the bike is too small. The seat should then be raised so you can fit two hands on the post of the seat.
When looking for the perfect bike make sure to go to a bike shop, not a large retail store and certainly not the internet despite the tempting prices. At a shop where all they deal in are bikes they will be able to help find the perfect bike for you. I got Penelope at the Westerville Bike Shop, but other places such as Paradise Garage, B1 Bicycles and the Trek store are also a good place.
Now for price, at a shop like the ones listed above you should be prepared to spend a couple hundred or a little more. If price is a concern for you then shop around, look at garage sales, but be prepared to put some money in for new tires or cables. Luckily, Columbus has a bike co-op called Third Hand Bicycle. A bike co-op is a poor kid’s friend. This is a place is where new riders want to be, Third Hand has different programs and is a place where you can learn to fix bikes and work your way to your own bike.
Once you get your own bike you’re almost ready to burn rubber. You’re going to want to make sure you have some basic necessities for bike safety. It’s not a long list: a helmet, closed toed shoes and a bike lock. I suggest one of those U shaped locks as opposed to the chain lock, from experience the chain lock can scratch my bike and gets all tangled. A U lock does nether plus is more durable and will increase the odds your bike will be in the same place you left it when you return.
Now for tools, just like people get flat tire in a car people get flat tires on a bike. So it is helpful to always have with you spare parts to fix your bike on the road. These include an inner tube, patch kit, small pump and a multi tool. These can all be purchased the same time as your bike so you’re sure to get the correct size inner tube.
With this info you are ready to get riding. Take it slow at first, try not to venture to far away from your start point. Remember as with any physical activity you are using muscles you may not regularly use, so do not be surprised if it hurts to walk the following day.
Ride smart and stay safe.
To read more of the “Back on the Bike” series, CLICK HERE.